On the first day of my first ‘Baby and Me’ class, the lengthiest discussion we had was about how to fit workouts into our day. On the last day of that class, when we were sharing resources with each other, the vast majority (all but 2) were about fitness, weight loss, or physical activity for moms with (or without) babies. The weekly updates in my inbox are about ‘getting back in shape’ or how breastfeeding helps shed the pounds or how to reduce stretch marks.
I appreciate that these are things many women care about. They have to – our society very much runs on us hating our bodies as they are. Otherwise, presumably, our economy would collapse and nobody would ever find happiness.
Thing is – I don’t want to do any of that.
Not only am I not interested in doing push ups above my baby’s confused scowl or running my second-hand stroller around the mulberry bush – because I honestly would rather hand wash diarrhea out of my baby’s cloth diapers in a dungeon than do either of those things – but I also think that my body is pretty cool right now. My stretch marks are a pretty sweet (AND FREE) tattoo that I got from my albeit terrifying trip down pregnancy and labour alley. My torn up vag has seen some things. The softness of my belly cradles my (occasionally) sleeping baby. My body is a MOM and that’s WILD.
Let’s be honest – my body wasn’t magazine worthy before I got pregnant, but I blame the magazines for that. I think what I’ve got now is living proof that I have an amazing body – it made LIFE, and my old body never had. I didn’t know what it could do, and now I have reminders of that power every day etched on my skin and wobbling around my middle (oh, and also the wee one). I don’t need to hide that.
The body I have now is amazingly strong, not because it can lift barbells or run a marathon, but because it can survive on very little sleep, it can carry a (currently) 13 pound weight around for hours, and it still feels like home to him. Why would I want to change that by doing activities that will make me feel worse about myself because I need to ‘keep it tight’? F*@% that noise.
Let me be clear – I am not one of those magical unicorns whose body ‘bounced back’ after pregnancy. As far as I can tell both my knees are broken, my wrists crack when I move them, my pants drawer is just for show now, my breasts are more like sleeping elephant seals than any kind of fruit, and somehow my skin has re-entered puberty. Oh, and I have to change my underwear a lot. It isn’t pretty. I’m not a fan of pain (or laundry), so I am doing what I can to minimize it – and maybe eliminate it, one day. Who knows? I just refuse to find shame in this new shape I take. My body did a really cool thing, and I don’t want it to look and feel like it didn’t.
Nor am I judging others who want the sunrise boot camp body – power to you. Please don’t invite me though, I’ll be napping. Feel free to comment on my adorable baby. But leave my tattoos and flab alone – they are just as precious.